The Painting Polzins | Gaz
After eight months of traveling, Alex and Andrea Polzin painted signs in Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Now they’re back in Emporia to help the community with their unique painting business – A&A Sign Writing.
“We started painting signs here in Emporia about five years ago,” said Andrea Polzin, co-owner of A&A Signs. “But I’ve been painting with my father since I was 16 years old.”
Andrea’s father has been painting signs for more than 35 years. He would ask Andrea for help and she said she fell in love with the business. After her father moved to Florida, she picked up some of his customers.
Since then Andrea has been painting signs with her husband Alex.
“When I met Andrea and we met, I started hanging out with her and her father,” said Alex Polzin. “You signed in Wichita for years, then somehow I got married into the business.”
Alex pays tribute to Andrea and her father. Andrea is a self-taught artist who has painted and drawn all her life. She has also done graphic design for photographers.
“She hadn’t gone to school or anything to learn graphics or anything,” he said. “I think that’s an advantage for us because we can learn more about the tradition and history of drawing.”
Alex also credits Andrea’s father as a great mentor and teacher. They spent about five months with their father while in Florida learning new information from him.
Sign painting is different from vinyl and plastic signage. Vinyl and plastic signs will fade and crack, but color signs will not. Painted signs can also fade and wash out, but Alex says that adds to the beauty.
“You age gracefully,” he said. “When you walk through Emporia you can still see signs today that were probably made 20, 30 years ago and that are still very effective.”
Together they consult with customers to get a design idea and budget.
“Andrea is a kind of designer. We both paint, we both design, but Andrea does a lot of the digital work online, ”said Alex. “So we can show people what they’re going to get before we actually do it. She’ll edit the design right on the wall with Photoshop and make it look nice and give people an idea of what they’re going to get before they actually get it. “
However, if you work with commercial signage, you are already working with a created logo and are just repainting the sign.
Andrea added that Alex was on a book buying frenzy. With more than 20 old books on constructive lettering and design elements, she announced that this is where they get inspiration – but they always work on their customers.
“It really depends on the customer,” she said. “If someone wants something more modern, we can pull that too.”
She explained that the projects vary depending on the characters. Some projects can be completed in as little as three to six hours, and some take up to a week or two.
In Emporia, they painted signs for L&L Pets, Soulless Barbershop, Do-B’s, Bourbon Cowboy and Plum Bazaar.
You have finished painting the 25th anniversary sign for Gambinos Pizza.
“I think our customers are our inspiration,” said Alex. “Because people are excited about their business and we want to help bring that excitement to their signage and get more eyes to look at it and hopefully get more people to come in and check out your place.”
He also shared some challenges with every position in the business.
“You run your own business, you are pretty much everything,” he explained. “You are the marketer, designer, accountant, manager, worker – you are a little bit of everything. You have to go out and shake a couple of hands and chat with people over signage. “
They usually receive verbal deals from other customers. However, they do have a website and often post on their Facebook and Instagram pages. They’ve been busy helping businesses since their return to Emporia from their road trip, but they enjoy themselves and the community.
“We’ve traveled a lot and there aren’t many places like Emporia,” said Alex.
Visit the website at sign-murals.com to see their work and to schedule an appointment with Alex and Andrea. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @aasignwriting to keep up with them and their work.